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Star-Telegram - Should Texas allow historical racing at horse and dog tracks?

As Texas Comptroller this issue is not for my office to say, but a matter for the legislator and the People to decide.  What I can tell you are the facts and not all that long ago, Texas was a major horse racing state. In October 2004, more than 53,000 fans jammed Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie for the Breeders’ Cup, the only time that premier event has ever been held in Texas.  The off-track parties, featuring George Strait and Willie Nelson, were memorable, too. A decade of decline later, though, the fun is almost gone. When it comes to horse racing, the words “major” and “Texas” no longer seem to go together.  Horse owners and trainers follow the money, so purse levels have a ripple effect throughout the industry, from breeding to veterinary services. Higher purses mean better horses, better competition and more spectator interest.  The horse industry is a very large and important part of our national, state and local economies. It is diverse, involving agriculture, business, sport, gaming, entertainment and recreation.

  • There are 9.2 million horses in the United States.

  • 4.6 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.

  • 2 million people own horses.

  • The horse industry has a direct economic effect on the U.S. of $39 billion annually.

  • The industry has a $102 billion impact on the U.S. economy when the multiplier effect of spending by industry suppliers and employees is taken into account. Including off-site spending of spectators would result in an even higher figure.

  • The industry directly provides 460,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

  • Spending by suppliers and employees generates additional jobs for a total employment impact of 1.4 million FTE jobs.

  • The horse industry pays $1.9 billion in taxes to all levels of government.

  • Approximately 34% of horse owners have a household income of less than $50,000 and 28% have an annual income of over $100,000. 46% of horse owners have an income of between $25,000 to $75,000.


    Study of the Current State of Horse and Greyhound Racing in Texas and Industry Recommendations for Improvement

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